Putting the non-urgent police number 101 into their phones can help Derbyshire residents to ensure that emergency 999 calls are answered without unnecessary delay, Police and Crime Commissioner Alan Charles believes.
“Most people have a pre-programmable mobile or landline so adding 101 to their lists would ensure that they had the right number at hand and – crucially – that precious time for responding to 999 emergencies is not wasted,” he says.
His plea comes at the start of his campaign to ensure that everyone knows which number to call. The latest Have Your Say survey indicates that about half the county’s residents either don’t know what the non-emergency number is or are confusing it with the NHS 111 number.
“This feedback shows that there is more to do in making people familiar with the numbers to call. Knowing these numbers and having them at our fingertips is so important, especially if calling the wrong one means that vital seconds are lost in responding to real emergencies,” he points out.
The Commissioner has taken up the 101 pre-programming idea from Radio Derby presenter Aleena Naylor. She came up with the suggestion while Mr Charles was discussing the need to raise awareness on her show.
“I think this is a wonderful idea that could make a huge difference,” he says. “I want it to be part of a far-reaching campaign aimed at highlighting 101 as the number to ring for non-urgent queries, issues, crime updates and appointments – and making sure that our emergency call centre staff are not hampered in responding quickly to desperate situations.”